Wednesday June 17, 2015


Bargaining Update Wednesday June 17, 2015

On Monday June 15th, one of our union brothers, Billy Hayward, passed away at our Madisonville, KY plant. Billy was only 48 years old and had been in our union since 1987. His wife and two of his brothers are also employed at our plant, and all three are long-time union members. Please join Local President Andy Blades, IUE-CWA President Clark, Chairman Santamoor and the entire IUE-CWA Bargaining team in offering his wife and family our deepest sympathies. Service Information for Billy: Barnett-Strother Funeral Home, 2285 North Main St. Madisonville, Ky. Visitation will be Thursday 4-7pm and funeral service Friday at 2pm. The link to his obituary is

Today at the small table, morning discussions included the following topics: Health Benefits–Cost sharing provisions, deductible, coinsurance and out of pocket maximums, working spouse contributions, prescription drug co-pays for specialty drugs, and prescription drugs – Generic /targeted drug co-pays.

The afternoon session included talks on Enhancement to the Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) and Health care Flexible Account (FSA) process, ambulance services in emergency situations, SPD Language clarification – Care Away from Home, DSO – Dental Benefit Schedules, DSO/DPO- Covered Services and Dependent eligibility, Vision (VSO) coverage issues.

As is often the case at this stage of negotiations, the Union and management remain far apart on many of these issues and discussions are often heated. Work at the small table resumes tomorrow.

Contract Language Subcommittee: The subcommittee revisited the topic of plant closing language before moving on to offer counterproposals to management’s job security proposals from the day before. Management declined to bargain on the union’s individual job security counter-proposals, arguing that the eleven proposals were meant as a package. Management also offered a new set of proposals directed to the apparatus service centers and a single proposal on decision bargaining.

Pension & Healthcare Subcommittee: This morning, GE gave the subcommittee the same presentation on post-65 that the small table was given yesterday. Union-side committee members expressed their disapproval and disappointment with this proposal.

In the afternoon, the group discussed the complexities of Wage Works and the FSA/HRA plans. GE proposes to simplify Wage Works using a streamlined process, a combined reimbursement and prescription credit card and a Health Coach available 24-hours. GE claims the streamlined process will eliminate the need for an employee to fax or scan documents in order to be reimbursed, and will also eliminate problems with over-payment, members sending payment to the wrong address, and charges coming in multiple bills. The committee also discussed a management proposal for an automated HRA/FSA process.

Bargaining resumes Thursday June 18th.

Please note that the bargaining process involves numerous proposals on the same issues going back and forth across the table, the details of which change constantly and do not necessarily reflect where we will end up on any given issue. Reporting the minute details of every management proposal out of context and through social media (as has happened elsewhere) can be misleading and detrimental to the bargaining process. When and if a tentative agreement is reached, all of the details will be released so that the membership can make a clear decision about whether to vote for or against the agreement, as is their right and responsibility. Until that time, the entire IUE-CWA bargaining team, made up of officers/members from our GE locals, will continue to fight for the best interests of our membership.